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Rotten To The Core

The Cub Factor Alert System has just issued a 24-hour severe Cubbie Occurence Warning: It's raining out and Matt Garza could slip and twist an ankle, or bump a funny bone, or break an arm, so can we just put him to sleep until he's traded?

If you see Garza in your area, do not approach. He's a Cub and therefore dangerous to himself and those around him. Call the authorities and let them take him down with a tranquilizer gun.

And if you see Jed or Theo, tell them to not get cute. Trying to drive a bidding war is not advisable given the likelihood that Garza will sneeze and break a rib. Trade him before I get to the end of this column or you'll be sorry.

Week in Review: The Cubs lost two of three to the A's and won two of three from the Pirates. It's hard to care.

Week in Preview: The Cubs have a Monday night makeup game against the White Sox at the Cell, then the Angels come in for two and the Cardinals come in for four before the All-Star break. It's hard to care.

The Second Basemen Report: The Second Basemen Report has become The Darwin Barney Report due to Dale Sveum's unwillingness to give some starts there to Luis Valbuena and use Cody Ransom more at third. It's times like this we miss Uncle Lou.

After all, Darwin Barney went 1-for-21 for the week (he's now 6-for-his-last-43) and left another nine men on base. In fact, he's 0-for-his-last-18 and left six men on base in his last two games alone. He lost another 19 more points on his OBP - now at .270 - this week.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Last week we wrote: "Is it really possible that a single day off can get a player out of a slump? We here at The Cub Factor are skeptical, especially given Cubs TV analyst Jim Deshaies' observation that Starlin Castro's approach at the plate hasn't changed a single bit since said day off. We're thinking the (temporary) antidote was simply give games against Brewer and Mariner pitching."

Guess what? Castro went 6-for-25 against A's and Pirates pitching while leaving 10 men on base. His OBP (.268) is worse than Barney's - and he commits errors to boot. Not sure who is really the best player right now - which is sad.

"[H]is overall baseball IQ has been questioned almost daily as he often looks lost or uninterested," Jon Greenberg writes for ESPNChicago.com.

See also: Castro Admits Pick-Off Was Not A Smart Play.

It's true Castro is still young, but players younger than him show more baseball smarts every day in America - both in and out of the major leagues. In your fourth professional season, you should show acquired intelligence and honed instincts, not the fundamentals of a high school player.

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And as long as we're here, Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-20 on the week and is now hitting .242 with a .329 OBP. So there's your core - and dibs on any variation of The Three Stooges to come about.

The Legend of Dioner Navarro: Add another chapter.

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"Navarro is 6-for-14 as a pinch hitter this season with two home runs and four RBIs," AP notes.

Deserted Cubs: Just as we predicted, Tony Campana was called up by the Diamondbacks. He notched three hits in 10 at-bats plus a walk and two stolen bases before being sent back down as a victim of the numbers game.

After all, the Diamondbacks are leading their division and shuffling the deck to cope with a decimated bullpen.

The Cubs, on the other hand, prefer Julio Borbon.

Bullpen Bullshit: Kevin Gregg blew a save on Sunday so the Cubs have already failed to trade him at his highest value.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Trading in International Teenagers is up sharply but the smart money is sticking with its Theo And Jed Pissing On Our Legs And Calling It Rain mutual fund.

Sveum's Shadow: Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow stayed at 10 p.m. because, just like his ol' Uncle Lou, he knows he won't be punished for weeds in the garden because he's not the landlord, he just rents.

Shark Tank: After all this time, Jeff Samardzija doesn't understand that improving the team is not the goal. He is, then, dumb and impatient to win - only one of which is a virtue. Except on the Cubs.

Jumbotron Preview: Six thousand square feet of Jorge Soler never making it to the majors.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2015 2016 2017.

Over/Under: Hours until Matt Garza gets injured before traded: 6.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that international teen sensations will not save the Cubs.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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